BOSCO-Uganda is proud to announce an exciting and innovative new partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s Initiative for Global Development, the 31 Lengths Campaign, and Educate! to bring solar powered micro grids, Internet connectivity, and entrepreneurial training to a number of sites in northern Uganda. Accenture and the Accenture foundations have funded the initial pilot portion of the grant for $550,o00 over two years.

The project aims to provide communities in northern Uganda with clean and efficient renewable power through the establishment of micro grids with Internet connectivity. In addition, entrepreneurial training ¬†will be provided to help create business and economic activity surrounding this new surplus power source. Accenture Foundation board member Samuel Awad says, “The strength of the project focuses on combining three critical resources–solar energy, Internet connectivity, and entrepreneurial training–to develop an ecosystem that will foster business opportunity and create jobs.”

A BOSCO-Uganda solar panel and long-range WiFi connectivity setup in the rural area of Coope, northern Uganda

Each partner in the project will contribute an area of expertise to help meet the overall objectives. For its part–as pioneers in the ICT for development field in northern Uganda–BOSCO will provide long-range WiFi connectivity and solar powered computer stations at each site. BOSCO-Uganda will also contribute its Web 2.0 training curriculum to help rural Ugandans use the Internet to become self advocates, while passing on learned knowledge to neighbors through a “train the trainer” model.

Accenture, in addition to granting $550,000, will provide pro bono and volunteer efforts to the project. The University of Notre Dame’s Initiative for Global Development will leverage the University’s research and expertise to develop solution-oriented research focused on rigorous, data-driven impact evaluation and assessment; design and planning of development projects; and training.

Educate! will provide entrepreneurial training and mentorship to young leaders and Ugandan entrepreneurs to implement business plans for the additional electricity. The 31 Lengths campaign will also provide business mentorship and entrepreneurial training activities related to the solar-powered micro grids.

BOSCO-Uganda is thrilled to work with these partners, especially given their expertise in these areas and their past record of success. We would be remiss, however, not to mention past (and continuing) partners which have helped sustain and move our organization forward to this point. Inveneo’s wireless solar-powered network design expertise helped get BOSCO-Uganda off the ground over 5 years ago. BOSCO-Uganda has also been supported in Uganda by UNICEF, which has provided funding and valuable insight and expertise in the ICT4D field. Likewise, Horizont3000 and DKA in Austria, have been instrumental partners in providing human resources, expertise, and funding, helping grow our organization from a pilot project 5 years ago to an organization today that is now fully staffed and run by the very population it aims to serve: northern Ugandans.

This is a second collaboration between BOSCO and the University of Notre Dame: the International Summer Service Learning Program at Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns has been sending student interns to Gulu for several years.

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